The Prime Minister believes that shale gas offers “exciting” potential for energy security, jobs and growth but it should only be carried out if there is “no risk” to the environment.
The comments came amid increasing signs of unease among MPs about the innovative method of extracting gas for energy from shale deposits deep beneath the ground.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman gave Mr Cameron’s backing to comments by Energy Minister Michael Fallon, who suggested large areas of the affluent South East could be sitting on valuable shale reserves.
In reported comments from a private meeting, Mr Fallon appeared to relish the idea of fracking taking place beneath the homes of “chattering class” commentators in The Weald.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the comments were “light hearted” but added Mr Cameron had “no reason to think that Michael Fallon is incorrect in that assumption” about the possible extent of shale gas exploration.
Conservative former minister Nick Herbert has warned that fracking is causing a “fear of the unknown” among Britain’s rural population wheile another Tory MP, Eric Ollerenshaw, warned of the danger that the development of shale gas facilities could create a new “North-South divide”.